Kawelu (Eragrostis variabilis)

Eragrostis variabilis, a native grass, forms in dense bunches and is the largest grass found on Kure. It is characterized by long, stiff, flat blades lacking a central keel.

It is a plant that is propagated within the shade house to contribute to the restoration program. Kawelu cotyledons are slender and very small. They, and other early blades are usually somewhat curled. Kawelu tends to germinate in the winter, and sprouts can be seen as dense clusters of tiny, almost hair-like blades growing at the base of mature bunches. The blades are very long and narrow compared to Cenchrus, Eleusine, and Setaria. As Eragrostis grows it generally has an erect posture and the blades begin to take on a characteristic corkscrew twist. These older blades also have a dark shiny surface that is noticeably different from other grasses on Kure. The blades lack a central keel that is seen on Cenchrus, Eleusine, and Setaria. E. variabilis seeds generally germinate in greatest number in the winter. Young sprouts are very small and slender and can be easy to overlook.

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